Fantasy Fiction posted June 14, 2014 Chapters:  ...20 21 -22- 23... 


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Snap To, Gentlemen!

A chapter in the book The Trining

A COUPLE OF MOMENTS OF TRUTH

by Jay Squires


NEW TO “THE TRINING” ADVENTURE?  You'll find summaries beginning with Cha. 2 and continuing to Cha. 20   What follows is a summary of Cha. 21:
Before the brothers get to the stable, Doctrex has a meeting with Klynch, the stable-boy.  Doctrex gets a basic lesson on saddling and riding his crossan. The most important thing, though, is bonding with his crossan.  Naming was one of the most important things. He goes on to explain the bonding of crossan and rider as an almost spiritual experience.  Just before the brothers arrive he names her Rain Spirit.  She responds well to it.  He and the Profue brothers share their crossans’ names.  Giln’s is Freckles and Sheleck’s is Mud.  They agree to meet at front of inn as soon as they find Zurn.

On his way to the room he reviews the dream about Axtilla and reaffirms his decision that, no matter what, his major mission was to get to Glnot Rhuether.  He knew he was under the urgent control of Rhuether’s magic.

 
Chapter Twenty-Two
 
I was surprised to see how easily I mounted Rain Spirit.  I remembered to talk sweetly to her while I bent forward and patted her neck.  I tested the stirrups as Klynch told me by gently standing in them to make sure I cleared the saddle in case she started to go to a full gallop.  "Take your time," Klynch had told me.  "Remember, she's just as nervous about you as you are about her.  It's just that she can sense your nerves.  Don't let her.  Relax." 

That was just what I was doing.  It was Rain Spirit and me for just that moment in time.  I was peripherally aware of the others' talking, but if they were talking about me I was oblivious of it.  "Oh, yes, you're a beautiful girl," I cooed.  "We're going to go on a ride today, yes.  You like your name, don't you?  Rain Spirit?  But you are a gentle rain, a gentle spirit, aren't you?… Yes you are."  I brushed back her mane and then glanced over at the others.  They were all staring at me, open-mouthed.

"You like to clear the journey with your crossan before you start?" Sheleck asked me.  He had a twinkle in his eye and I sensed he was hoping I would banter with him a while.  But, in light of my decision, I was afraid to start off wrong by acknowledging his remark, so I ignored it.

"You need to do that with Mud, brother.  He's dumb as a stick," said Giln.

Sheleck glanced from me to his brother and his mouth spread to a grin.  "He'd rather be dumb than embarrassed about having a name like Freckles."

"Don't you listen to Uncle Sheleck, my little beauty."

"Shall we go?" I asked abruptly.

Both sets of eyes turned to me.  "Yes," said Giln.  "It is a long way."

"And we should probably take it slow," Sheleck added, "until the crossans are used to our weight."  He got a smile on his face again.  "All except for Zurn.  I think you slept in that saddle, didn't you?"

"No, I didn't," Zurn said, concerned.

"I was just kidding, brother."

"Well, let's go," I said, making the sound through my teeth that I heard Klasco make; I led with the rein to the right.  She pulled her head in that direction and her neck and body followed as she ambled off toward the road.  "Easy, girl, that's my girl," I whispered.  I heard the lazy clomping of hooves behind me.

When we got to the main road and needed to bear right, I put tension in the right rein and slowly raised my right leg just a few inches until I felt her body's contact against my knee as she maneuvered to the right.  It was like magic to me!  I exalted inside and hoped she could sense my happiness.  "The idea," Klynch had told me, "is for the crossan and rider to be one.  Then it begins to be a response to the mere sound of your voice.  But from first day to that day don't expect all success and no failure.  Your crossan will struggle becoming one with you as well.  There will be testing on both sides."  But, Klynch clearly didn't know how seamlessly we were relating to each other.

Giln drew up next to me.  "I want to give Freckles a little exercise.  Do you want to join me?"

"I think we'll just continue like this for a while.  You go on ahead."

Giln took Freckles into a faster gait and then into a trot.  Soon Sheleck was passing me, too, and then Zurn, guiding their crossans into a trot and then a full gallop.  At first I was coughing with all the rising dust, but after a few moments they had advanced far enough ahead that I could breathe easily again.

But, I didn't like what I was feeling inside.  With this small act of letting them go on ahead, I had let the subtle and fickle reins of power pull away from me and toward them.  At the same time, I didn't like myself for feeling a need for control.  I had to remind myself how necessary it would be when we arrived at the camp and more so when I would be leading them and others in battle.  But, they were good people.  I didn't want to ever forget their intervention saved Klasco's and my life.  Sheleck took the knife that obviously was meant for me.  But, that was then.  Clearly, I was letting my emotions guide my reason.

I reached out my hand and laid it alongside Rain Spirit's neck.  "You understand, don't you, girl?  Are you ready to go a little faster?  I'm counting on you to teach me, girl."  I straightened up in the saddle and applied an even pressure to her sides with my feet.  At first she didn't respond.  I loosened the pressure, so she would have something to contrast against and, remembering the clucking sound I made initially to get her to move, I made the sound again just as I applied the pressure and she pushed off to a slow canter.  Initially, I was bouncing off the saddle with each jolt of her hoof striking the ground, but I remembered Klynch's advice to lift slightly from the saddle when her foreleg went forward into a canter, sitting down when it returned.  It worked, though it took a lot of concentration at first.  Before long, though, I was developing a rhythm in my rising and sitting, so I didn't need to watch her leg movement.  I let her go on a while longer before taking her into a trot.

"Are you ready to get some real exercise, young lady," I asked her in the gentle voice she was used to hearing from me.  As I spoke I pressed my heels in a little more firmly.  When she increased to a trot, and, later to a gallop without my command, I found myself more off the saddle than on it.  But still I was making sure my shoulders were squared and my chin tucked in, just like Klynch told me, and in this short period of time I was already starting to feel one with Rain Spirit.  It was a marvelous feeling.

The Brothers Profue and Zurn were now in sight.  Their crossans were ambling along, now, and, as I approached them all three turned in their saddles.

"Helooo," Giln greeted me.

I pulled back on the reins, but she only slowed a little.  "Whoa," I said while pulling back and down toward my hips with the reins.  "Whoa, girl!"  She slowed to a canter, and then stopped.  I was far enough ahead of them I didn't think they heard the outflow of air from my lungs.  I hoped they didn't see the look on my face as I passed them.  I bent forward and ran my fingers through her mane.  "We've got a few things to iron out, don't we, Rain?" I whispered.  "Like whoa means stop."

The three pulled up nearby, but Giln brought his crossan side-by-side with mine.

"There's a nice place about five units ahead," said Giln, "where you first see a stream.  We thought it would be a nice place to rest the crossans and let them drink.  Is that all right with you?"

I remembered Klasco's advice and repeated, "Five miles?"

I thought Giln frowned, but just briefly, and then he said, "Yes, is that all right?"

I told him it was.

"Yeah, I just thought I'd tell you in case we got separated again so you'd know where to look."

"I'm sure we'll find each other," I said.  "I need to say a few things when we get there."

"I see," he said.  "We all noticed you seemed to be acting a bit strange.  Are you sure you want to wait?"

"Yes, I think that would be best."

It was his turn to nod. 

The silence was heavy as we walked our crossans for a while; then Sheleck was the first to lead Mud to a trot and then a gallop.  Zurn followed.  Giln smiled over at me and then took Freckles off into a trot as well.

I patted Rain Spirit on the neck.  "Are you ready, girl?"  I made my clucking sound, but when I pressed my feet into her side I felt the insides of my thighs seize up.  I stood up on the stirrups to relieve the tension in my thighs.  This confused Rain and she started to trot but slipped back to an amble.  I was able to sit down in the saddle now.  "Let's try it again, Rain …."  This time I made the clucking sound only and she ambled forward.  Okay, let's go, girl," I said with a little more volume and lift to my voice and did my part by sitting up straight in the saddle, squaring my back.  She took off in a trot that graduated to a full gallop.  I lifted off the saddle and sat and lifted off again at the right times.  There was a rhythm and regularity in the lifting and falling of her lead leg, so I experienced for the second time the sublime feeling of oneness between Rain and me.

I was so into the moment that I lost track of how far we'd ridden.  Off to the right I saw the stream and in the shadows of an oak tree the three were lying on their sides, watching me.  I knew Giln had told them of our brief conversation.  "Whoa, whoa, Rain," I said and she slowed to an amble, and then stopped.  I dismounted, self-consciously, swinging my leg higher over the saddle than I needed before planting it on the ground.

The others, I noticed, had left the saddles on.  I loosened the cinch, though, making a mental note to tighten it before we left.  Klynch's warning ran through my mind.  "Don't let your crossan drink right away after she's been running and don't give her much unless you plan on resting her until it runs through her."

I went over and sat on the grass in front of the three who were considering me.  I cleared my throat.  I didn't know why I was making this so hard.  I just had to come out and say it.  "Giln, Sheleck, Zurn, I need to tell you something.  I've been putting it off for too long and you deserve to know now so you can adjust to it."

They stared at me, their expressions unchanging.

"If I've seemed kind of distant recently, it's because I didn't—gentlemen—I am going to be your commander."
*     *     *
CAST OF CHARACTERS
  • Doctrex:  The name Axtilla gave to the man who woke up on the shoure of an alien land without memory or identity.
  • Axtilla:  The young lady who discovered the ailing man on the shore, brought him to health and then held him captive, certain he is Pondria.
  • Pondria:  According to the Tablets of Kyre, he is the one who comes from the sea, to infiltrate the people of the Encloy, deceiving them with his language, setting them up to be destroyed by the Trining.
  • Pomnots:  (Pom = Dark not = Force)  Formerly on the plane below, these ancestors of the people of the Encloy were drawn up to the Kojutake during the Bining's 30 days of darkness.  Fierce, living for their appetites, they are not above killing each other to satisfy their insatiable hunger.
  • Glnot Rhuether:  According to Axtilla, the name of the dark entity who is destined to empower the lodging [the Trining] on their plane.
  • Klasco Braanz: Husband to Metra and father to Sarisa and Klea.
  • Metra Braanz: Wife to Klasco and mother to Sarisa and Klea
  • Sarisa Braanz: Klasco's and Metra's youngest daughter.
  • Klea Braanz: Klasco's and Metra's eldest daughter
  • Giln Profue: One of the three who helped Doctrex & Klasco in the Tavern Brawl.
  • Sheleck Profue: One of the three who helped Doctrex & Klasco in the Tavern Brawl & was stabbed.
  • Zurn: Intellectually challenged, Giln and Sheleck are watching out for him.
  • Klynch: The stable boy at the Tavern
  • Kyreans:  According to Kabeezan Myth, a people who lived 5,000 years ago (1,000 D’s) who were ultimately destroyed by Glnot Rhuether and the Dark Force
  • Crossans: They are similar to horses, but broader in the chest and sloping down to smaller haunches than horses.
  • Trining: 1) According to The Book of Kyre it is “a sudden, easy and complete translation of authority.”  2) A code word used by the enemies in the Far Northern Province marking the beginning of the all-out assault by Glnot Rhuether on the other provinces.
  • Kunsin: The magic that Pondria possessed.
  • Kojutake: In the provinces it is the afterlife.
  • Prevaluate: In the provinces, it is where you go just after you die, where you measure yourself to find out whether you will go to Kojutake
  • Papper: In the provinces, the ability of one language being automatically translated into another so there is no reason for one to learn a foreign language.
 
 
 


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NOTE: Reluctantly, but at the request of many Fanstorians, I am including a Glossary of Characters and Terms. I trust the reader who measures his/her interest by the length of the "scanning bar" will keep in mind the space that list takes up.
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